I attended Mobile Tech Expo several years ago. I was honored to meet Brian Brown of Exclusive Paint Protection in Charlotte, NC, who happened to be one of the speakers at the event.
I was honored to meet and reunite with several great people in the detailing industry. Mike Phillips, Jeff McEachran, and Renny Doyle all brought great value to the conference and trade show. I believe everyone in the industry should experience this event at least once.
I was intrigued to listen to Brian Brown’s presentation. Coincidentally, learning about the backstories of the keynote speakers, I stumbled across a YouTube video (their story) describing the experience of receiving a ceramic coating and or paint protection film service at Exclusive Paint Protection. I was incredibly impressed with eloquently in a couple minutes it told the viewer who was and wasn’t an ideal fit for their services. This was at a time I was struggling to communicate my business identity. Of all the speakers, Brian Brown’s was by far the most impressive. Two parts of his speech really stood out. He spoke about the first time he received a long detailed 1 Star review from someone, who just was not going to be happy no matter what. He said the next person he booked with mentioned that the 1 negative review made his business more trustworthy because it humanized him. Indirectly this encouraged me to be more open with my clients in ways that I present myself as a ordinary person. The other story he told I will probably never forget. He spoke about a client who was initially hesitant about the service and guarded about the price. He brought up something that would (unselfishly) benefit the client. The client let his guard down, insisting on adding on more services. The lesson being, once the person realizes you really care about him or her you will have a great client. You have to mean it though.
Me: Looking back in time what is/are the decision(s) you would have made sooner, with respect to your business operations?
Brian: I wish I had made the decision to move away from being a solopreneur earlier. I got stuck in wanting to be an acclaimed detailer for too long. I also wish I had invested more in documenting processes and building systems.
Me: What are some great experiences with clients that reaffirmed what you do in terms of the value you provide?
Brian: We are currently working on a Tesla Model S. Applying a satin paint protection film, transforming the finish from gloss wheels to provide a contrasted accent. I was encouraged and humbled when during that conversation, he stated, “You are an expert in these things, and I value your opinion.” That is particularly encouraging when I recall the history we have with this client and all the cars we have done for him, multiple M series BMWs’s Teslas Model 3, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model Y, and this his second Model S Plaid that we are working on at the moment. We are at the same time working on a Porsche GT3 Touring for another great client who knows each of our team members by name and discusses with each the particular task he needs to have completed each time he comes in. It’s kinda fun sometimes to observe him almost leave me out of the picture as he engages with our team. This affirms the value of having the right people doing the right things.
Me: If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone starting out, what would it be?
Brian: Understanding how business works is crucial if you want to build a business around detailing. What kind of business structure do you want it to be? Who will fill the various roles of accounting, legal, management, Hr, and marketing? Initially you may find yourself years down the road with not much more than a bucket and a bottle of soap. Often we hear of a small business owner wearing many hats. Could you create a model that identifies the various roles a business requires, and train yourself to fulfill these roles as needed prior to being able to pay someone? For example, if you are considering incorporating your business into an LLC, that would be a legal role, as would be reading over and signing any business document that requires your signature, accounting, and taxation. Well, there is your accounting role; you get the point. Getting this structure in place before you have accounting and taxation challenges is key.
Video of the project involving the Ford GTLM from the first picture shown below.